Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side travel to the Eithad Stadium on the crest of a very large wave. Look closely and you’ll see Diego Costa surfing the tube with ease. What a start to his Premier League career!
A well-taken hat trick against Swansea saw him atop the scoring charts, the first Chelsea player to score in his opening four games for the club.
Seven goals already suggest a player who is right in the zone, and City’s defence will have to be on their guard for the entire 90 minutes to stop the Spaniard adding to his tally.
The battle is likely to be won in the midfield where Cesc Fabregas will delight if he is given too much time and space on the ball.
A high-tempo and forceful pressing game from both Yaya Toure and Fernandinho is crucial to City’s ability to win good ball in and around the central areas, with Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas expected to plough the furrows out wide to open up the pitch.
Arsenal managed to open up City with relative ease last time out so Manuel Pellegrini will be keen to ensure that his side are compact throughout against a very strong and able Blues’ line-up.
With half a dozen players already on yellow cards, don’t expect anything less than a blood-and-thunder Sunday afternoon scrap.
This one comes just too soon for the return of Stefan Jovetic, his recovery from a hamstring injury needing another week’s rest. Fernando is definitely out but Manuel Pellegrini has no other injury concerns in the wake of City’s Champions League opener.
Yaya Toure should return after missing the Arsenal match because of returning late from international duty. Frank Lampard is set to make way against his old side.
Chelsea’s talisman Didier Drogba will drop back to the bench to accommodate the return of Diego Costa. With a 100 percent record going into ths game, and no injury concerns, it’s higly unlikely that Jose Mourinho will play tinkerman for such an important fixture.
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Toure, Fernandinho, Navas, Silva, Nasri, Aguero.
Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Matic, Fabregas, Hazard, Oscar, Schurrle, Costa.
- The highest-scoring game between the two sides came in the 1960/61 season when Chelsea ran out winners 6-3.
- Manchester City have scored over 100 goals in this fixture when they play at home.
- Chelsea have left the blue half of Manchester with a win on only two occasions in all competitions over the last six years.
- Cesc Fabregas has already assisted for six goals this season. Almost as many times as Manchester City have scored (7)
Previous Head to Heads
15/02/14 Man City 2-0 Chelsea
03/02/14 Man City 0-1 Chelsea
27/10/13 Chelsea 2-1 Man City
24/02/13 Man City 2-0 Chelsea
25/11/12 Chelsea 0-0 Man City
12/08/12 Chelsea 2-3 Man City
Manchester City: Vincent Kompany
There’s an old football cliche; “One player doesn’t make the team.” If there happes to be an exception to the rule, then Vincent Kompany provides it.
A centre-back of stature, he has been immense for City throughout his tenure in the heart of their defence.
As we’ve come to expect from this toughest of warriors, Kompany has barely put a foot wrong this season, dragging his team up by the scruff of the neck when required.
A real leader of men with a “first out of the trenches” attitude, there aren’t too many players who wear their club colours with such pride. A colussus.
Chelsea: Cesc Fabregas
When Cesc Fabregas demanded a transfer from his boyhood club Barcelona, the real surprise was that there wasn’t a queue of suitors hammering down his door to get him to sign on the dotted line.
If rumours are to be believed, then mentor Arsene Wenger even passed up on the chance to re-sign his former captain, saying that he wasn’t needed.
With six assists already, a pass completion success of 89.5 percent, which is amongst the highest in the league, and evidentially being the cog that is turning the Chelsea wheel, it’s a decision that may come back to haunt Wenger and the rest of the Premier League.
Yes, Diego Costa is firing the gun with unerring accuracy at the moment, but it’s Fabregas that’s loading the bullets. A perfect replacement for City’s new loan signing Frank Lampard.
Chelsea go into the game with a 100% Premier League record and are 37/20 to continue the run with Betway on Sunday.
Alternatively, you can back Manchester City at 7/5, while the draw is at 23/10.
Diego Costa is 6/5 to score at anytime and continue his fine goalscoring form, while you can back both him and Sergio Aguero to score first at 9/2.
Jose Mourinho has the blend just right at Stamford Bridge and that has manifested itself already with some stunning performances. The Blues sit deservedly atop the Premier League with the only 100 percent record.
However, in Manchester City, they meet a side well-equipped to fight fire with fire. For Terry read Kompany. For Matic read Toure. For Costa read Aguero.
No splitting these two heavyweights.